• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Monday, September 6, 2010


The first Sunday of most months is 'Fast Sunday' - the day, once a month, when LDS people go without food for 24 hours, may publicly express their feelings in church about anything that seems to be on their mind, and donate the approximate cost of the missed meals to help the needy.  (The public expression has guidelines but mostly I have to be creative to squeeze what is said into the prescribed parameters. It can be good mental exercise to figure out how or why what is said could be one of the things suggested; the first and foremost being that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of this world.

Yesterday was 'Fast Sunday'! Although the combination of fasting and long meetings tends to make for a seemingly endless day that was not the case yesterday - I was lost in thought and it seemed suddenly gone.

I hate church - not really, you know, it is just very difficult for me to sit still for so long – and you have to sit still with ALL those other people that are sitting still too. ZZZZZZZzzzzzzz

(I especially hate Stake Conference. I have learned to take note paper to help direct, contain and channel my thoughts.)

Yesterday Elder Smalls [of course he is almost the biggest man in the room] shared his testimony. He said [and I paraphrase], “I love going into your homes. There is such a feeling of the spirit in your homes.”

Have you ever grabbed a load of laundry from the couch or stack of bills from an end table and chucked them into your bedroom or a closet when the doorbell rings? I had that furtive kind of feeling as he said that.  I often wonder how the spirit can be in my home when we are so imperfect. Wow, I thought, I wonder what I need to do so when he comes over to our house he will feel that way?  I wanted what he said to be true.

Elder Smalls continued, “And I am so grateful to all those that team teach with the missionaries. You share such great testimonies and are worthy men of God.”  As my husband sat a little taller, I looked around the chapel noticing that  Elder Smalls had the attention of most of the members and suddenly I remembered my favorite church meeting  - ever.

President Dennis Bullock stood in front of the conference of the Lethbridge Stake in the mid 1980’s and thanked the people; he thanked them for attending church, for paying tithing, for going Home/Visiting Teaching, for accepting callings, for having family home evenings, for doing genealogy, for faithful temple attendance, for … about a million more things like daily scripture study or personal and family prayer that Latter Day Saint people routinely do.  He kept saying, “If you do this you are [faithful, obedient etc ]” and outlined many of the blessings of doing each thing he talked about. 

I loved church that day.  Ironically many that usually like church did not.

I learned an important principle.

Gratitude validates what I am doing and encourages me to do more of what I should be doing – sometimes. Even when I am not doing it at all I may envision that I fit the category and what it would be like to belong to the category. My heart is turned to obedience.  I desire to choose to do better. (Just because sometimes I harden my heart and refuse to accept those impulses doesn’t mean I didn’t have them).

Gratitude brings us nearer to God. 

A Primary song crept through my conscious mind -

All over the world at the end of day
Heavenly Father’s children kneel down to pray
Each saying thank you in his own special way
Saying thank you, thank you in his own special way
 Children’s Songbook

What am I grateful for?
What am I so thankful for that I fall to my knees to thank God that I am so blessed?

Do I ever tell you thank you? Can I do so too often?

Gratitude is essential to my happiness and yours. I pledge to look for all the things I can thank you for AND I pledge to thank you more often.  I especially pledge to thank God for all I have and am and can be. My mind reels at all I have to be grateful for.

With the psalmist I shout, I clap my hands together and sing, ‘Great is the Lord, Praise ye him!’

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